Friday, June 1, 2012

Corporations are People?

Corporations are people?  No, it is obvious that they are not.  For example, a corporation cannot walk into a voting booth and vote for a candidate of its choosing.  Instead, it takes a very different mindset to understand the illogic of our rabidly-activist current panel of supreme court judges in elevating corporations to the modern equivalent of feudal masters.  In the Citizens Union decision, as the analysis goes, corporations should be permitted to participate in the democratic process of electing public officials with no limits placed on the amounts of money given to candidates because these corporations have, like individuals, the first amendment right of freedom of speech.  And, as everyone knows, money talks so I guess it’s a form of speech.

Let me digress for a moment.  Very recently, the Waltons family’s major gold mine, the international chain of Walmart stores, was exposed for paying huge bribes to countless Mexican politicians that gained Walmart unfettered access to the Mexican economy. Twenty per cent of active Walmart stores are now found in Mexico.  These bribes meet the very definition of corruption.

In the Citizens United decision, Justice Kennedy danced around the definition of corruption when discussing the now unlimited funding of candidates and issues permitted by that decision.  If I were teaching civics in a high school class right now, I would have my students read Swift’s Gulliver Travels and the Citizens Union decision and compare the thoughts processes of the two pieces of literary fiction.  In converting its fantasy of corporations being people into reality, the Supremes legitimized bribery by corporations in the United States. Kennedy’s detailed discussion of the definition of ‘corruption’ could result in a hilarious skit on Saturday Night Live if the net result hadn’t been so serious; i.e., the hijacking of the American political system by permitting exactly the same type of conduct exercised by Walmart in Mexico.  Just saying . . .

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